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Home > Virtual Cruises > Norwegian Jewel: Good Morning America's Girls' Week Out
Norwegian Jewel: Good Morning America's Girls' Week Out
Day 1: Embarkation in Miami, Super Bowl Sunday
Day 2: At Sea
Day 3: Roatan
Day 4: Grand Cayman
Day 5: Ocho Rios
Day 6: At Sea
Day 7: Great Stirrup Cay
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Day 6: Monday, At Sea
At SeaIt was 6:30 a.m., and members of the steel drum band were doing a reprise of yesterday's performance on the pool deck while trying to keep their music stands from blowing away. Groups of girlfriends were wrapped in blue and white striped pool towels; others were eating breakfast.

I spotted Amy and Bryan Reed, winners of yesterday's romantic sojourn in Jamaica. "Incredible," is how the lucky couple described their fantasy day. They especially liked dining on lobster to a violin serenade.

Most of the action was upstairs at the Spinnaker Lounge, the snazzy venue for the much-awaited "Dancing on the Sea" contest. Mike reported the weather flanked by the girlfriend group from Charlotte, North Carolina, who have adopted orphans from Liberia. He toasted the good-hearted group with colorful tropical drinks.

Groups of girlfriends began to arrive and take seats around the circular dance floor. Among them were the Indiana Divas, sorority sisters who helped Shequitta Kelly finish college and law school as a single mom. Thanks to her friends' support, Shequitta is now a prosecutor in Ft. Wayne. They were here to cheer on another one of their girlfriends, Shareka Tolbert, in the dance contest.

The front row seats were reserved for the three dance contest judges -- Gayle King, Finola Hughes and Charlotte Jorgenson. Finola now hosts the "How Do I Look?" show on Style Network. She'd been helping the girlfriends select their dresses and accessories. Charlotte, from "Dancing with the Stars," had been rehearsing the performers.

The excitement built as Diane, chicly dressed in an orange blouse and zebra print skirt, appeared. The producer yelled, "Contestants, have a lot of fun! This is fun!" -- as if anyone, participants and spectators alike, needed to be reminded! The first contestant was Shanna Kuljis from Biloxi, Mississippi. After a stylish cha cha, the judges gave her team 26 points out of a possible 30. Next up was Shareka Tolbert from Indianapolis. The judges loved her passion and expressiveness and rewarded her team with a 29, including two perfect 10's. The last girlfriend to dance was Terrie Felpeto. She and her partner performed a sexy cha cha that earned a 26.

Diane announced that Shareka had won the first prize, a cruise for two on NCL's Pride of Hawaii. Shareka's girlfriends from Indianapolis rushed out to hug her while her dance partner, Alejandro Bahia, stood by, beaming.

The dance contest was the climax of the "Girls' Week Out." The final moments were up at the pool deck where the celebration all started five days ago. Diane, Mike and Gayle were surrounded by all 300 girlfriends from across the country. They were singing and dancing, and exchanging hugs all around. In a nice recap to the week's live segments, Diane asked Gayle and Mike to offer their own "highlights" -- Mike's was especially moving as he noted that he was so energized and inspired by all the women who had won passage based on their accomplishments.

After this Norwegian Jewel settled down into regular ol' cruising mode. When we returned to the pool deck later, it was back to normal -- passengers were bopping around in the two pools and Jacuzzis, and trapeze artists were flying while kids schooched down the water slide. Ruth and I headed to what has become our favorite lunch spot -- the Great Outdoors at the ship's stern (other places regularly open for lunch include the Great Tsar Dining Room for a more formal experience and the ultra-casual grill). The view couldn't be beat, but today it was so windy that pieces of salad were flying off our plates. Great for dieting.

From there, we made a beeline for the fitness center. I left Ruth on the treadmill and went to check out the spa's coed relaxation room. Located at the bow with fabulous ocean views, this was the only place on the ship quieter than the library. No speaking allowed, just New Age music. It was hard to tell if people were sleeping or meditating.

Ruth had purchased a "Pamper Package" from the spa and all week was indulging in treatments. The $379 fee (tips extra) included four treatments: facial, hot lava massage, de-stresser and ionithermie (the cellulite removal activity). Today's de-stresser involved being placed onto the bed of a hydrotone, a large white capsule, where she was exfoliated, covered in seaweed and steamed. For the finale, the capsule was transformed into a spa tub. "I came out feeling like creamed spinach," said Ruth. "I guess creamed spinach doesn't have much stress."

Her favorite, ultimately, was the hot rocks. Both of us enjoyed using the spa facilities (whirlpool and steam) throughout the week; usage is free if you've purchased a treatment or $60 for the week's worth. It was a great option.

One excellent activity today was a chance to "discover our signature fragrance" at a perfume seminar. Did you know that blondes tend to like floral scents, while brunettes do better with spicier notes? Alas, the instructor had no words of advice for brunettes who'd gone blonde!

We also learned not to store perfume in a bathroom, but rather in a dark, cool place where it can keep for up to five years. Before buying a new scent, we were advised to spray it on our wrist and wear it for an hour to see if the fragrance matched our body chemistry. Our expert actually advised us to lick our wrists. A bitter taste is not a good match. If there is no taste, buy it. After we all stopped laughing, we lined up for a good spritz.

This evening, Ruth and I dined at the no-charge Tango's Tex-Mex and Tapas Bar & Restaurant. Fellow diners included the steel drum band girlfriends. We started with an assortment of hot and cold tapas, including fried calamari and hummus. After salads, we enjoyed the mesquite grilled fajitas. Regretfully, we had no room for dessert. It was great fun to experience a different restaurant each night of the week, and while those who were booking in larger groups occasionally had trouble snagging tables at certain eateries, two- to six-person tables were easier to come by.

Tomorrow morning we arrive at Great Stirrup Cay, NCL's private island in the Bahamas, which is located some 60 miles from Freeport. We're looking forward to snorkeling, kayaking and swimming. Alas, because this is an uninhabited island, the lack of duty-free shopping opportunities is a downside. I'm sure we'll manage, though.
Day 5: Ocho Rios red arrow Day 7: Great Stirrup Cay

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